RMCA publications

Exploring Africa with Ancient Maps

Since the Middle Ages, maps have documented human progress in exploring and understanding the world in which we live. In this publication the Royal Museum for Central Africa presents a selection of 80 pieces from its collection of ancient maps, dating from the late 15th to the early 20th century, of Africa and its parts.
Western maps of Africa from the early 15th century were based on ones originally defined in Alexandria by the Greek geographer Ptolemy in the 2nd century AD. While the shape of the continent was gradually improved as a result of early Portuguese explorations, fabulous creatures and beasts continued to populate the unknown interior, giving rise to creative map embellishments, until scientific explorations in the early 19th century began to replace fables by facts.
As the small format of the books in this series cannot do justice to the large size of our maps, a DVD is included to permit their detailed study.
This publication wants to offer, above all, a leisurely, stimulating journey through time, in the company of maps of all shapes and sizes, many of them of an immediate artistic appeal, each one a treasure-trove for the curious reader.